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Old 02-08-2017, 07:10 AM
Homerlovesbeer Homerlovesbeer is offline
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Cassette recording - Why? What do you record?

How to start.


Having recorded my fair share of tapes in the past I must say after looking at what are good units for cassette playback I've noticed that lots of you value recording quality to the point that it seems to be of a higher priority than playback.

I'm struggling to comprehend why. Surely you want the best possible playback quality for your cassette collection but why worry about the recording quality?

You can record digitally much easier with better quality so why worry about a decks recording ability?

Then there is the issue of blank tape availability to actually record onto. Let's face it, blank tapes cost a bomb these days so why are u guys so passionate about it?

I'm really interested in what you guys record and why.

Cheers, I hope you understand my confusion.

Last edited by Homerlovesbeer; 02-08-2017 at 08:03 AM.
Old 02-08-2017, 07:34 AM
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Lowtone Lowtone is offline
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Recording on multitracker only.
It's funny to use, and also very simple.
It allows to arrange a song, without thinking too much on something else.
With a computer, there are so much configuration and options.
It gives too much stress.
A good old Tascam allows to focus on music.
Recording on cassette is more intuitive.
Aiwa AD-f330 / Tascam porta 05 Hs
TDK - sa90
Old 02-08-2017, 07:40 AM
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RockSolid87 RockSolid87 is offline
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As the name of the site suggests (Tapeheads) most here are a lover of analog. So recording analog to listen to analog just makes sense.

Basically, you don't record to cassettes unless you like the sound of cassettes. Sure, you can save digital files or digitize your records (and many do including myself), but many (myself included) prefer the sound of tape. For instance, I record from both records and digital sources because for the sheer love of the sound.

I like to put it this way: there are a ton of different blank cassettes to choose from. Each one gives a unique sound. I personally try to find the "perfect" cassette for what I'm recording. That in turn adds to the fun factor and makes each recording a sort of adventure for me.

Hopefully that answers your question from my perspective.
Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to Heaven! (Acts 4:12)

*Fuji, Memorex, TDK spoken here* Cass: JVC KD-V6, Nakamichi CR-1A, NAD 6340; TT: Realistic Lab 290 w/ stock Shure cart; R2R: AKAI X-1800SD; 8T: Superscope TDR-830
Old 02-08-2017, 07:41 AM
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absinthe_boy absinthe_boy is offline
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I have been recording from FM radio since 1981.

Back then my priority was to make the best recordings I could, knowing that at a later date I could get hold of a great deck to play them back on...I had a BOTL Realistic SCT-24 at the time.

Today I still record from FM radio. I tried recording to my PC from the radio from about 2004-2012 and realised in the end that all I achieved was to cease recording anything. It was just too much hassle to record to the PC, edit, render the tracks as 16-bit WAV files or 24-bit FLAC....maybe burn a CD which meant dividing a long recording into tracks.

With the cassette, I just press "REC" and off it goes for 45 minutes or whatever. With a decent type II or IV cassette, I get something indistinguishable by ear or spectrum analyser to the FM broadcast. And if my old cassettes are anything to go by, those recordings will still sound great when I am in my old age.

Short answer: Recording digitally is more hassle than on a cassette.

Equally, it is fairly easy to make a cassette deck that plays well...more difficult to make one that records well. So choosing a deck with great recording capabilities meant you pretty much guaranteed great playback too. Though my subsequent decks did get more out of those 1981 cassettes than the Realistic.
Akai GX2-10D, Nakamichi Cassette Deck 2, Yamaha KX-393, Denon DRM12-HX, Systemdek IIx900, Pro-Ject Debut II, Harman/Kardon 330c, Harman/Hardon 3380, Onkyo TX-SR608 etc.

Last edited by absinthe_boy; 02-08-2017 at 08:07 AM.
Old 02-08-2017, 07:50 AM
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svampen svampen is offline
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I record albums that I like onto tape and a mixtape now and then. Just because it is fun and it gives me relaxation. It takes some time. You listen to a whole song. You fiddle with the paper inlays. Some people might call it mindfulness.

I enjoy servicing and maintaining the machines. It is a hobby like playing golf or knitting coasters for your flowerpots.

Using the decks binds interest for the technology and the music together.

I also use digital media to record stuff on, but I kind of enjoy using a physical format for some reason. It makes me appreciate the music more in a strange way.
Old 02-08-2017, 08:06 AM
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kmulkey kmulkey is offline
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CD's and vinyl for me. There's something special about making a tape. Not sure exactly what but I enjoy it a lot.
HK 990, Vandersteen 2Ce sig II, Oppo BDP-105, VPI Scout Classic SE/Dynavector 17D3/Sutherland Ph3D, Nakamichi Dragon and CR-7A, Yamaha KX-1200U, Onkyo TA-2090 and TA-2070.
Old 02-08-2017, 08:16 AM
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lucky lucky is offline
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CD and Vinyl just for having fun with my tapes.
Old 02-08-2017, 10:44 AM
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LesX55 LesX55 is offline
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Same as lucky but it's all CD
Tape Decks:Nakamichi CR-7/680/Aiwa XK-S9000 ANT/Sony TC-K555ESJ/777ES/666ES ANT. SACD/P:Sony SCD-1/Marantz KI-Pearl.CDP:Sony 557ES:Power Amps:Sony TA-NR1s: Intergrated Amp:AVI Lab Series S21/ Sony TA-F7 V-fet/777ES. Speakers: Castle Howard S2/Sony AMP22Es. Walkmans:Sony WM-DC2/DD33 x2/60 x 3/F-5/Toshiba KT-S1/S3/Fiio X3.Portable Amp:Ray Samuels Blackbird SR71A.Headphones:Sony MDR Z7/E888/XB40EX/Sennheiser HD590/Dita The Answer/ Noble X IEM
Old 02-08-2017, 10:59 AM
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vince666 vince666 is offline
frozen into the 80's. :)
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mostly vinyl here... say, 99 out of 100 times vinyl.
Old 02-08-2017, 11:11 AM
gvwrighty gvwrighty is offline
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Vinyl is better than CD's (I'll explain this later) and recording Vinyl on Cassette is easier, more flexible, more forgiving and 'sounds' better.

Vinyl has a bandwidth of up to 70kHz. It is attenuated at this level, but the frequency rolls off naturally from 20k up to 70k, whereas CD's have an unnatural hard stop at the nyquist frequency of 22k - frequency response is flat to 22k, then nothing. CD's are lossless, whereas MP3's are compressed, and compression equals loss of information, so MP3's are worse than analog as you have lost musical information. Any digitized music other than lossless(eg flac & wav) has lost information.

As for actually recording music, when recording vinyl digitally, you have to be incredibly exact with your recording levels as digital is unforgiving. If your input goes over 0db, information is clipped and lost, so you have to scrub that recording, decrease input volume and start again. With analog, overloaded sound is not clipped, it is attenuated as you are into a non-linear recording level. Levels that are altered, but they are not lost as they are with digital recordings. So, recording digitally, you actually have to monitor the entire recording to make sure it does not ever overload, and if it does overload, you need to throw away, decrease volume and start again. It takes ages to get right, and most people don't bother trying, so their recordings are either too low, or too high. Too low means lowered dynamic range and increased noise, too high means distortion and clipping. To get it right you need to record your source many many times and monitor the entire recording to get it right. It is much easier with analog as if you do hit a section of music where the volume is too high, you can just decrease the volume and carry on.

Analog Sound is better than digital. Why?
Back to the question of sound. Analog is better because of the higher frequency response available. Digital stops dead at the nyquist frequency (half the sampling frequency), but analog carries on. It is attenuated, but there are higher frequencies recorded. Now I know what you are thinking - the human ear cannot hear beyond say 16kHz and in adults probably not even above 10kHz, so why bother? The answer is simple, we have more than one sense that is affected by sound. We not only hear sound, we feel it as well. You'll know this from any action movie you've seen in a cinema, you feel low frequency vibrations. You don't hear them, but you feel them, and the same is true for high frequencies sounds. Your eye lashes, hairs in your nose, eyebrows, cheek hair, hairs in your ears, your head etc. all vibrate at these high frequencies and as you feel this, it makes huge difference. Your brain translates them just as it does sub sonic sounds, but in the case of higher frequencies which are directional, your body feels them and your brain interprets them directionally, which you sense as stereo imagery, and imagery is where the magic happens.

Simply put, there is more information in analog music than in digital music.

Try it. Get yourself a record and a CD (or digitize vinyl), something instrumental (Pat Metheny works well). Assuming you have a decent amp and speakers, play the CD, turn the lights out/close your eyes and try to visualize where the instruments are. Now play the vinyl and do the same thing.

Just like those 3-D patterned drawings from 20 years ago that you stared at until you saw a 3D image, after a while you can start to 'feel' and hear where the instruments are, the hiss and pops fade away as your brain tunes it out and you get a stereo image that you just do not get with CD or digitized music.

To get a similar experience with digital you'd need to digitize your audio at at least 140k (so the nyquist frequency is 70k), but if you are that picky, you are not going to record digitally, you are a tapehead, an audiophile, and you are going to use tape as it has a more natural roll off.

Again, I can hear what you are thinking, cassettes don't go to 70k either, which is true, but as the bias frequency is over 100k, frequency response does go up to half this, but again, rolled off naturally. Nakamichi's go to 23kHz +-3db and roll off above this, so there is information there.

So, yes, digital is 'more accurate' than analog up to 22k, but it is missing data, but the sound experience with analog is what audiophiles and tapeheads like...other than the love of the vintage technology itself. Coupled with the

Last edited by gvwrighty; 02-08-2017 at 03:21 PM.
Old 02-08-2017, 11:43 AM
nandit0 nandit0 is offline
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I record casettes from vinyl mostly. I prefer analog sound over digital.
Casette to me is sort of the analog playlist....
I love to listen to records, and casettes allows me to listen to a selection made by myself, at home and in the car. I sometimes record from CDs, and by the way, I think something about the sound get better in the process, at least for my taste.

About the importance of recording even over playback, to me is clear:

what gets lost to begin with, you can not recover later on the audio chain.
I here share the Linn philosophy. Source first.

Last edited by nandit0; 02-08-2017 at 11:52 AM.
Old 02-08-2017, 12:29 PM
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svampen svampen is offline
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Continue on my reply above...

I have also noticed that analogue tapes (or vinyl) is a good archive media.
I still use my vinyls from the 80s (and my parents vinyls from 40-60s). Still works. Put it on a plate that spins and drop a needle onto it and it sounds. Very simple technology.

I still enjoy my tapes I recorded in early 80s. They still sound probably about as they did then - and they are heavily played in cars, walkmans and at home since that era. Still works fine. Found a prerecorded tape from -75. Sounds great!

I find myself some times trying to connect, extract or use a digital media now and then and I often fail. Mostly because that particular technology is obsolete. But even if I saved a drive it requires software or drivers that is no longer supported or available.

At work we recently needed to download data from a ten year old medical device and needed a parallell port. Wtf, we said, sitting there with our new laptops. Found an old computer but then the software did not install.

I have a zip-drive with discs. Cant use them anymore - no drivers available.

I used to save stuff on Qic80-tapes ages ago (late 1990s). Try to connect one of those drives now.

I found a MO-computer disc at work. No hardware available.

Same with some edited photos I have. The software is simply no more - I cant open those files. (Mostly photos I scanned, so still have the analogue photos.)

Suddenly a backup failes or a computer virus corrupts all files and they are gone. One single bit can render a whole file (or disc!) useless while you blink.

The analogue just stays there throughout the time and needs no firmware updates. Some small errors are managable and only renders a dropout or so. The technology is fairly simple and can be stored/maintained for long time.

Someone found some old recordings from 1800...something. Still usable.

I think thats pretty cool.
Old 02-08-2017, 12:58 PM
CaryAudio CaryAudio is offline
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Because, if you own really good equipment analog kills digital every time.

If it's a digital recording to begin with, forget it, it's already lost.

Unless you listen to test tones, than digital wins.

Old 02-08-2017, 05:42 PM
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Lowtone Lowtone is offline
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Originally Posted by gvwrighty View Post
So, yes, digital is 'more accurate' than analog up to 22k, but it is missing data,
Digital is not only CD, and can go beyond 22kHz. Also most vinyls nowadays are pressed from digital masters. Also this is not an analog/digital debate here, so don't ruin it please.

eyelashes seriously ?
Aiwa AD-f330 / Tascam porta 05 Hs
TDK - sa90
Old 02-08-2017, 06:06 PM
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Jody Thornton Jody Thornton is offline
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Originally Posted by Lowtone View Post
Digital is not only CD, and can go beyond 22kHz. Also most vinyls nowadays are pressed from digital masters. Also this is not an analog/digital debate here, so don't ruin it please.
There is a relevance here though. I have a bit of trouble believing a theoretical analog high end of 70 KHz.
Jody Thornton (Richmond Hill, Ontario)

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Old 02-08-2017, 06:21 PM
Paul UK Paul UK is offline
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Here we go again...

Of course digital can go past 22khz but why bother? cds were designed for the human hearing range in mind, please tell me if theres a single song ever made that uses any sounds that go past even 18khz, anything past these numbers is wasted energy and aliasing as ive said time and time again, jeez these arguments were popular 30 years ago cds chop the sound at 22k for a reason, its cause you wouldnt be able to hear it, and digital crops the recording level to 0db for a reason aswell, because anything past 0db is distortion. why do you think tape decks have a red zone.

Last edited by Paul UK; 02-08-2017 at 06:50 PM.
Old 02-08-2017, 06:25 PM
Paul UK Paul UK is offline
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Originally Posted by CaryAudio View Post
Because, if you own really good equipment analog kills digital every time.

If it's a digital recording to begin with, forget it, it's already lost.

Unless you listen to test tones, than digital wins.

analog doesnt kill anything, thats why it died years ago only people like us here bother with it, a very tiny minority. analog died 1 week after dolby s was invented
Old 02-08-2017, 06:45 PM
Paul UK Paul UK is offline
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Originally Posted by Jody Thornton View Post
There is a relevance here though. I have a bit of trouble believing a theoretical analog high end of 70 KHz.
I know right! who the **** can hear anything in that range not as if theres any music there in the first place, i dont know what theyre arguing about tbh
Old 02-08-2017, 07:02 PM
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macman007 macman007 is offline
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Well put gvwrighty. I agree with a lot of what you are getting at here. For the folks who think all modern LP's are pressed from digital files, you need to qualify your remarks. There are plenty of studios out there still recording and mixing/mastering to analog. As a matter of fact, more studios are recording and mastering an analog than 5 years ago. Many bands and performers are seeking out analog studios, such as 'Welcome to 1979' studios.

Many of the mastering engineers are still mixing to analog as well as digital, especially for re-releases and remaster projects. The analog LP folks want their new pressings to be mastered AAA all the way. Sure, plenty of people dont care about analog, plenty more still record and master with DAW's and will continue to do so. However there is an increasing number of folks in and out of the music industry who are trying to get away from the loudness wars and taken a step further, releasing their new projects on Cassette, LP and high resolution digital 24/96 or better.

A lot of the streaming and download sites are switching to and offering ALAC or FLAC in addition to the higher resolution rates in an effort to get closer to the sound of analog.

Myself, I find taking a digital file, 44.1 CD or better and copying it to analog tape, reel to reel or compact cassette removes the digital sheen and harshness. TBQH, you should always try to use better quality analog equipment. Most better/best open reel decks are capable of 20hz-30khz or more, similarly the better/best cassette decks or its big brother the short lived EL-Cassette, again with better tapes are capable of 20hz to nearly 25khz or so. Even though standard CD hits the ceiling at 20khz, as said above, recording from LP or higher resolution digital sources, there is information up to 50khz and beyond. Quad Lp's were encoded up to 50khz, better phono carts have a frequency range from 5hz to over 50khz. High definition audio is capable of well above 50khz.

Analog tape seems to put back what many feel is missing from digital sources in many cases, taking the harshness out. All in all, a poor master recording, whether digital or analog, no matter how much it is capable of, will still sound bad. Garbage in - garbage out.

Those of us who record to analog tape (whatever type) and listen to LP's for whatever reason, can hear and feel a big difference. Is it us or the formats? It depends on who you ask. I would rather record to tape and listen to tape or LPs, given a choice. For me, a great digital recording is all the better once recorded to analog tape. There just seems to be a more tactile connection with the music, one that delivers to me an emotional sense of well being and calm, even a high, that in many cases digital all alone seems to lack in most cases.
Old 02-08-2017, 07:20 PM
Paul UK Paul UK is offline
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But people still cant answer my question, this is no different than having a porsche that can do 200mph but your only allowed to drive at 70 max, you cannot and NEVER will hear past 22khz full stop. yea you can SEE it on paper, or a bar chart what fucking good is that?

Last edited by Paul UK; 02-08-2017 at 07:24 PM.
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